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Does Deodorant Ingredient Affect Breast Cancer Risk?

January 12, 2012
By

THURSDAY, Jan. 12 (HealthDay News) — For several years,
researchers have studied a possible link between substances called
parabens — widely used as a germ-fighting preservative in cosmetics such
as deodorant/antiperspirants — and breast cancer.

Investigators have learned that parabens, also found in some drugs and
food products, can mimic weakly the action of the female hormone
estrogen — an established risk factor for breast cancer. And the fact
that a disproportionate number of breast tumors occur nearer the underarm
also had scientists wondering.

But now, British researchers who examined breast tissue samples from 40
women who had mastectomies have found that traces of parabens are
widespread in tissues, even in the seven women who said they’d
never used underarm products.

“The implication is that in these seven nonusers, the paraben measured
must have come from another product or products,” said Dr. Philippa
Darbre, a cancer researcher at the University of Reading who has long
studied the issue.

In the study, published online in January in the Journal of Applied
Toxicology
, Darbre and her colleagues report that one or more kinds of
parabens were found in 158 of the 160 samples taken from the tissue
collected from the 40 women. They found 96 samples contained all five of
the most common paraben esters (forms).

The levels of paraben found were higher, by about four times, than
Darbre found when she did a similar but smaller study in 2004. “Since
2004, many manufacturers (although not all) have been removing parabens
from the underarm deodorant/antiperspirant products and so I was rather
surprised when we found higher levels of parabens in these breast tissues
(sourced after 2004),” Darbre said.

Higher levels of one form of paraben were found in the region of the
breast closest to the armpit, she said, and the women had a
disproportionate incidence of breast cancer in that area.

However, Darbre cautioned that the research cannot be taken to imply
cause and effect.

“Although estrogen is an acknowledged component in the development of
breast cancer, it remains to be established as to whether environmental
chemicals with estrogenic [estrogen-like] properties contribute a
functional component to the disease process,” she said.

“I remain as ambivalent as ever about hounding any one chemical,” she
added. “I feel sure the issue is bigger than one chemical.” Darbre
believes the parabens found in breast tissue come from a wider range of
products than underarm cosmetic products.

More research is needed, Darbre noted. Meanwhile, she suggests women
cut down or cut out the use of cosmetic products as much as possible. “We
simply use too much in the modern world — too much for our body systems
and too much for the wider environment,” she said.

For its part, the American Cancer Society finds no clear link between
deodorant/antiperspirants and breast cancer. In a posting on its Web
page, it notes that, “There are no strong epidemiological studies in the
medical literature that link breast cancer risk and antiperspirant use,
and very little scientific evidence to support this claim.”

Dr. Michael J. Thun, vice president emeritus of epidemiology and
surveillance research for the American Cancer Society, reviewed the new
study findings. The fact that the preservatives were found in the
majority of the breast tissue samples cannot be taken to imply they
actually caused the breast cancer, he said, reiterating a point the
authors also emphasized.

“Rather,” Thun said, “the study merely confirms earlier, smaller
studies which detected parabens in breast tissue of women with cancer. It
shows that parabens can be absorbed (probably from personal care products)
and the underarm deodorant is not the only source.”

Other studies have found that parabens, also found in lotions, makeup
and sunscreen products, can be absorbed through the skin, according to the
American Cancer Society. However, the society says more and larger
studies are needed to find out what effect, if any, the parabens might
have on breast cancer risk.

More information

To learn more, visit the American Cancer Society .

Article source: http://news.yahoo.com/does-deodorant-ingredient-affect-breast-cancer-risk-140412050.html

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